(WFXR) – Most families are expected to be dining on the typical Thanksgiving turkey for the holiday but if your bird is “chillaxing” in the freezer, you’ll want to be mindful of when to begin defrosting your bird.

The typical rule of thumb is to allow your frozen turkey to thaw in a 40-degree refrigerator one day for every four-to-five pounds of your turkey’s weight.

So, simply follow the chart below for the optimal time to begin thawing your turkey:

Weight of TurkeyBegin Defrosting No Later Than…
21 – 25 poundsSat., Nov. 21
16 – 20 poundsSun., Nov. 22
11 – 15 poundsMon., Nov. 23
6 – 10 poundsTues., Nov. 24
1 – 5 poundsWed., Nov. 25

The USDA says it is safe to leave a defrosted turkey in the refrigerator for one to two days before cooking.

If you happen to forget to remove the turkey in time, you can also use the cold water method by simply submerging the frozen turkey in cold water and change out the water every 30 minutes; however, you’re urged to cook the turkey right away after thawing is complete if you use this method.

You can also cook a frozen turkey; however, cooking time will be 50% longer.

For more information from the USDA regarding how to safely thaw a turkey, click here.

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